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Lawmakers Should Repeal, Not Reinforce, Discriminatory Laws

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government should renounce a cabinet minister’s proposal to increase criminal penalties against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, Human Rights Watch said today. The attempt to strengthen criminal…
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Backtracking on Free Expression, Accountability, LGBT Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s promised human rights reforms stalled in 2019 as the government either backed away from or delayed action on its campaign commitments, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020. “Malaysia’s reform…
Protesters hold placards reading " Save Malaysia, Arrest the Thief " during a protest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
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Repeal Draconian Sedition Act

(New York) – The Malaysian authorities should halt the investigation targeting organizers of the Women’s March in Kuala Lumpur on March 9, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The march’s organizers are being investigated for possible violations of…
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, left, passes the opening speech to King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah during the opening of the 14th parliament session at the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, March 11, 2019.
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Criminalizing LGBT Relations Fosters Intolerance, Discrimination

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities should drop the case against two women for same-sex relations before their scheduled caning on August 28, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. A court convicted the two on August 12 of violating a state…
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Rights Activists, Religious Freedom Under Attack

(New York) – The Malaysian government cracked down on activists and opposition politicians critical of the government in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2018. With corruption allegations still casting a long…
201801wr_malaysia_human_rights People attend an anti-kleptocracy rally in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia October 14, 2017.
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Government Should Suspend Competition on 'Preventing' Gender Dysphoria

UPDATE, June 13, 2017: The ministry circulated revised guidelines for the competition, which discuss gender and sexuality in rights-respecting terms. *** UPDATE: On June 7, the Malaysian Health Ministry met with…
Jina, a 22-year-old transgender woman, sports a tattoo of a butterfly—a transgender symbol signifying transformation.
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‘Oppressive and Inhuman’ Cross-Dressing Ban Restored

(Washington, DC) – In overturning a landmark ruling, Malaysia’s highest court has undermined the rights of transgender people in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. On October 8, 2015, the Federal Court reversed a lower court ruling that a state’s…
“Jina,” a 22-year-old transgender woman, sports a tattoo of a butterfly—a transgender symbol signifying transformation: “There’s a lot of politicization of the LGBT community at the moment, to distract the public from more important issues.”
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Abolish Laws Against ‘Cross-Dressing’

  (Bangkok) – A Sharia (Islamic law) court in Malaysia has sentenced nine transgender women to fines, and two to one-month jail terms under a discriminatory law that prohibits “a male person posing as a woman,” Human Rights Watch said today.…
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‘Cross-Dressing’ Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

(New York) – A Malaysian appeals court ruling that a ban on cross-dressing was unconstitutional is an important victory for the rights of transgender people in Malaysia, Human Rights Watch said today.  On November 7, 2014, a…
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Eliminate Discriminatory Laws, Practices; End Violence

(Kuala Lumpur) – The Malaysian government should urgently seek the repeal of all laws and regulations that discriminate against transgender people, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Transgender people in Malaysia face criminal…
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Prosecutions for ‘Cross-Dressing’ Undermine Privacy, Free Expression Rights

(Bangkok) – An Islamic law court in Malaysia has sentenced 16 transgender women to seven days in prison and a fine for “cross dressing,” in violation of their rights to freedom of expression and privacy, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 9, 2014, a…
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Local Laws Encourage Discrimination, Abuse

(Bangkok) – Transgender women in Malaysia have filed a groundbreaking court case challenging a law that prohibits them from expressing their gender identity, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 22, 2014, the Putrajaya Court of Appeal is expected to hear…
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Revoke Law Criminalizing Homosexual Acts

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government should drop its politically motivated prosecution of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim for alleged consensual homosexual relations, Human Rights Watch said today.  On February 12, 2014, the Kuala Lumpur Court of Appeal…
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Drop Appeal of Verdict; Revoke Colonial-Era Ban on ‘Sodomy’

(Bangkok) –The Malaysian authorities should drop their apparently politically motivated appeal of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal on sodomy charges, Human Rights Watch said today. On September 17, 2013, the Court of Appeal in Kuala Lumpur will…
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Prime Minister Najib Should Act to End Discriminatory Laws, Practices

(New York) – The Malaysian government should end rights-violating and discriminatory government policies that vilify members of Malaysia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime…
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Government Should not Oppose Judicial Consideration of Key Rights Issue

(New York) – The Malaysian government should not seek to block judicial review of the 2011 ban on the Seksualiti Merdeka (“Sexual Diversity”) festival, Human Rights Watch said today. The Kuala Lumpur High Court will hear the case filed by festival…
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Drop Case against Ex-Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim

(New York) – The Malaysian government should revoke its colonial-era law criminalizing consensual sexual acts between people of the same sex, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should drop their criminal case alleging consensual “sodomy”…
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Ensure Right of All Malaysians to Freedom of Association, Expression

(New York) – The Malaysian government should immediately rescind a police-imposed ban on the fourth annual Seksualiti Merdeka festival and adopt measures to protect all Malaysians from discrimination, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime…
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Extend Labor Protections to Migrant Women and Girls at Home, Abroad

(Phnom Penh) – The Cambodian and Malaysian governments’ failure to regulate recruiters and employers leaves Cambodian migrant domestic workers exposed to a wide range of abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a report issued today. Tens of thousands of…
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(New York) - Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi should declare an end to his country’s practice of detaining suspects without trial as he conducts his first visit to the United States and Europe as head of the Malaysian government, Human Rights…